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Lebanon: President Aoun calls on PM-designate Hariri to immediately form government or leave

March 18, 2021 at 8:50 pm

Lebanese President, Michel Aoun in Beirut, Lebanon on 21 October 2020 [Lebanese Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has called on the Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri to either form his government immediately or make space for others who can perform the task.

“After the Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri presented a government draft line-up that did not meet the minimum level of national balance… I invite him to Baabda Palace for the immediate formation of the government in agreement with me, following the mechanism and constitutional standards adopted in the formation of governments without argument or delay,” Aoun expressed in a televised address.

“If the prime minister-designate finds himself unable to form a government, he should make way for those who can,” Aoun asserted. “My call is determined and truthful to the prime minister-designate to choose immediately one of the two choices, as silence is not an option after today,” he added.

Since last October, Hariri has been unable to form a government due to political differences, some of them with Aoun.

Two months after his assignment, Hariri announced that he had presented Aoun with a cabinet of 18 ministers of non-partisan specialists. However, Aoun rejected the proposed cabinet formation, citing Hariri’s method of choosing his ministers, specifically Christians.

Read: Lebanon’s Hariri says priority to form government, re-engage IMF

Concerning the president’s remarks, Hariri responded that he was surprised to hear the president’s comments. “After many weeks of introducing an integrated line-up to a non-partisan specialist government capable of implementing the reforms required to stop the collapse and start the reconstruction of what was destroyed by the port explosion in Beirut, I am awaiting a call from the president to discuss the proposed line-up,” Hariri remarked.

Hariri noted that he visited the president 16 times since being assigned the task of forming a new government and would be honoured to visit Aoun for the 17th time, to discuss the government formation.

The prime minister-designate added that Aoun should allow for early presidential elections if he cannot sign the decrees allowing the formation of a new government.